I crept quietly into the barn at 5:45 am. All the horses were nestled down in their stalls. Teddy was curled up sleeping. I went into his stall and had a quick snuggle wishing I could savor the moment before I dumped his grain and he quickly came to his feet. He was dressed in his fleece having been clipped, bathed, conditioned and made “show ready” the night before. We polished toes, wrapped tails and did some last minute brushing and beautifying before we walked him out to the trailer in the dark. He stepped onto the trailer like a pro – no coercing. This was his first show – nothing too serious; just a schooling show and he was entered at the Baby Novice level which is the beginner level. He would do a dressage test and then a jump round.
We arrived at Morningside Taining Farm as the sun was rising on this cold damp morning. As we got him off the trailer, he looked around at the other horses and trailers, but settled into eating grass as we tacked him up. As more and more people and horses arrived his nerves started kicking in. He had some time to warm up before his dressage test but the more people arrived the more nervous he got. He was distracted by everything going on around him and he couldn’t focus on his job. His entire warm up he was tense and now it was his turn. The definition of dressage is to be calm, supple and attentive to your rider. Sadly, he never settled down and his performance didn’t show the judges who he really is. We chalked it up to it being his first show. After all, there has to be a first time.
Now onto jump round. By this time, he had settled down and was ready to rock. His turn was up and he did great! He walked away with a 4th place ribbon overall. Not bad at all Teddy.
It was an emotional day. We are entering the final stage of Teddy’s recovery, and I have to be honest about what is best for him. He is a perfectionist with incredible natural athleticism. He is going to go so far with the right person. It’s time to start looking for his forever home, but how am I going to say goodbye to this sweet horse?
I don’t know what the next couple of months will hold but watching this horse go from ribs to ribbons has been one of my life’s greatest blessings.